Tactical Tailor

Archive for November, 2010

Mountain Rucks from Mystery Ranch

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

There are a lot of folks who still prefer ALICE over any of the new stuff. As we all know, the weakest link in the big green tick was the frame. On top of that, ALICE was designed in the late 60s of state of the art materials for the time, which is essentially parapack and so is prone to developing holes in high wear areas. Well, Mystery Ranch has ALICE beat in both areas and has taken inspiration from the classic design but developed an entirely new pack from the ground up. Naturally, like ALICE, the Mountain Ruck is available in two sizes, Medium and Large. The Large came first, but immediately they had customers come back and tell them that they needed a smaller pack with the same features.

The Mountain Ruck sits atop the highly popular NICE frame which can be used with a variety of Mystery Ranch bags as well as to transport awkward loads like the old issue packboard. They also made the Mountain Ruck backward compatible with the ALICE frame for you diehards. The Large pack offers 5300 cu in of cargo capacity but PALS webbing is available for those who need additional space. The pack also features three external Rip-Zip pockets that are a cinch to open in a hurry.

Available in Coyote and MultiCam. Be sure to inquire about the medium size of it fits your needs.


Japan’s Advanced Combat Infantry Equipment System

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

We are fortunate enough to have this report on Advanced Combat Infantry Equipment System, Japan’s Soldier modernization effort from one of our readers.

Japan’s ACIES system consists of HMD, wearable computer, protective gear, weapon, and monitoring capability integrated as a system, and it is designed to share the information among the troops and C2 element to fight effectively and efficiently. Unlike the legacy Japanese military hardware, the ACIES will utilize large volume of COTS item as well as foreign source to save development cost and prevent obsolescence issues.

Since the delivery of the first ACIES demonstrators to the trial unit in late 2008, multiple trial ran were conducted throughout Japan. Based on the data compiled from trials the final ACIES design process is currently on-going. Hitachi won the final competition as the prime contractor in the summer of 2010 to design and manufacture the final design of AICES. Delivery of the initial low rate production models are expected to start around winter of 2011 to the Infantry School.

System components:

Modeled after the MICH helmet, inside has cushion pads and four point suspension system. This helmet will not have any ballistic protection capability, and it is “bump” helmet (shrapnel protection may be added). Japanese MoD came to a realization that with new threats on the horizon, ballistic helmet is just added weight for the users and dropped the ballistic capability in favor of adding more electronic components. The new helmet will have mounting stations for the NOD built by NEC, HMD built by Shimadzu, headset, microphone, LAN antenna. There’s also a small uncooled IR camera developed by NEC for the helmet which weighs about 70g. Only 2Mega pic, but able to identify the human face at distance up to 200m.

Body Armor:
New body armor system is in design. It may have large flap opening design rather than US IOTV side opening design. This vest will have ample MOLLE webbing all around to accommodate various pouches, battery pack, computer, and comm items to be mounted. Current demo unit has 9mm protection level, and can accommodate hard plates on both front and back (no sides). The final version will have NIJ Level IV without hard plates.

Computer and other electronic sub systems:
One of the key elements of the ACIES is the ability to process visual data from multiple source and position data, and distribute among other ACIES wearers as well as C2 element. In order to sustain the safe and secure data transmission, the robust data link capability is required. On the back of the body armor is the wearable computer’s main system. Batteries, large data processor, LAN, gyro, atmosphere pressure gage, GPS, (gigantic) cooling fans, and others are all in this portion. To power the ACIES system, dual battery sources are considered. At the AUSA in 2010, an American business, Brentronics Inc, claimed to have won the portable battery portion of the ACIES program.

Lightweight UHF and VHF radios have been developed and fielded for the program.

Monitoring system will be mounted on the LAV or APC along with the relay station for the radio and sensors worn by the dismounted troops. Also ACIES battery recharging station will be also mounted on the same vehicles. This will allow the dismounted ACIES wearers to return to the “mother ship” and quickly recharge their secondly batteries or replace the dead one with fresh ones quickly and continue their mission.

Howa’s Type-89 rifle has been redesigned to accommodate the Picatiny style rail system and polymer based retractable stock. Shortened carbine barrel has been also designed and may be adopted as a part of the program. Weapon also has a laser designator and integrated IR camera built by NEC. This IR camera data, along with the helmet mounted one, can be manipulated via fore grip control unit. Fore Grip control system is similar idea as the computer’s mouse, and the wearer will see through the HMD display and move the arrow symbol around and click on the menu, etc. Wearer can also aim and fire the weapon behind obstacle, just pointing the gun without exposing the body. The development of the new Howa rifle system is on-going, though European designed rifles are under evaluation to replace Type-89s.

A softball sized throwable UGV is a part of the ACIES to provide visual data feed for the ACIES wearer in safety. Once tossed to the ground, the operator can maneuver it using a grip type controller (may be integrated to a weapon control) and provide visual data through its IR camera. Ball shaped UAV has also been developed and can accommodate small payload such as the IR camera for tactical visual feed to the ACIES wearers.

-Tom I

PEO Soldier Releases 2011 Portfolio

Monday, November 29th, 2010

PEO Soldier has released their 2011 portfolio and you are invited to take a look.

Corps Strength – Weight Bearing

Monday, November 29th, 2010

In issue two of Retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul Roarke’s series on functional fitness he discusses methods to train for weight bearing.

After almost ten years of combat operations in Afghanistan, Marines and Soldiers know the importance of being in top physical condition. Not just running or lifting weights but in their ability to bear weight. Meaning their ability to operate while wearing heavy combat gear. Today’s front line military is outfitted with the very best weapons, protective gear and communications equipment. However while much of this stuff is made of the newest high tech materials, in the end when you pile it all on the back of a young hard charger, its still pretty heavy. Just the basic four components of a “fighting load”; weapon(s), ammo, protection and water will run at least around 25lbs. Add to that any combination of comm gear, crew served weapons, night vision, extra ammo, etc. etc. now your load can easily reach 50lbs or more. We have all seen pictures of our people humping huge loads up the rugged mountains in Afghanistan (in the cold). To do this for hours on end and still have the ability to fight requires training and real world conditioning, not football or MMA skills. I know from my own hard learned experience that the only way to condition yourself to “hump” a heavy pack is to do it. However while training back in the rear that may not always be practical. A good training alternative and what I recommend in my book “Corps Strength” is the next best thing to your actual gear; a weighted vest. I use and recommend the vests made by VMax. They come in all different weights, colors and are comfortable and durable. I have beat the hell out of mine for the last couple years it is still gtg. It is held securely to your body by velcro straps so it doesn’t shift around, allowing you to do many different exercise movements, I keep my 50lber it in the back of truck and use it for all types of training. Everything from kettle-bells to straight hiking. I think it’s the best way to get yourself conditioned to carry weight. It also is a great piece of gear for firefighters and law enforcement people to train with. Try it, it works.

Semper Fi

Hyde Definition Submits PenCott Multi-Terrain Camo to US Army

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Hyde Definition has submitted their PenCottâ„¢ multi-terrain camouflage in response to the US Army’s RFI for a family of camouflage patterns. What we find so interesting about this announcement is that in highly competitive programs such as this, companies vying for a contract tend to keep a lid on their entries until after the trial is well under way. Granted, Hyde Definition had already developed these patterns and they are commercially available, but the actual solicitation has still not been released.

Interestingly, they have also developed a colorway specifically for field equipment as called for in the RFI. It is named PenCott-TEC™ (“Tactical Equipment Camouflage”) which you can see in this mockup provided by Hyde Definition.

The team at Hyde Definition has not just been working on camo patterns. Since the beginning of the PenCottâ„¢ program they worked on improved uniform designs. In addition to their family of patterns entry, Hyde Definition also submitted an unsolicited proposal for a Multi-Environment Camouflage Systemâ„¢ (MECSâ„¢) which is based on a two-part system of a Reversible Camouflage Over-Garmentâ„¢ (RECOGâ„¢) and a basic Universal Duty Uniformâ„¢ (UDUâ„¢).

The Reversible-Camouflage-Over-Garment (RECOGâ„¢) provides more flexibility for the Soldier. As you can see in the photo, this new uniform overcomes the greatest weakness of multiple patterns. While they might be perfect in one environment, but stand out like a sore thumb in another. What’s worse, in many areas, the ground scrub might be one color while the trees are yet another. The Soldier can easily adapt his clothing to the micro environment he is operating in and change along with conditions.

The second component is the Universal Duty Uniform™ which is a standard uniform used in stand-alone mode for garrison, utility and general fatigue and admin duties, or as the under-garment (in conjunction with the RECOG™) for field and combat operations. They envision that the UDU™ would be available in two weights (“light” for summer / hot climates and “heavy” for winter / cold climates use) and in two colors (Olive Green for verdant environments and Coyote Brown for arid/semi-arid environments). Sounds a lot like the concept envisioned here.


For the Love of SSD

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Even though we publish several times a day, some of you can’t seem to get enough SSD, so here are some other options:

Our list of followers on Twitter continues to grow. In addition to alerts of new stories we also release information through Twitter that might be of interest to our readers or is related to our core content but originates elsewhere.

We launched our Facebook page awhile back and are jut beginning to make use of it. Dissatisfied with how we have seen some companies use their accounts we wanted to get in there with a plan to make the experience more meaningful. Look for lots of content soon.

Our iPhone app has been extremely popular and delivers the latest updates directly to your iPhone each time you open it. Yes, the Android app is on the way…be patient.

M4Carbine.net has been most gracious in offering us a dedicated sub-forum to interact with our readers. Not only is it a great place to discuss our articles and current issues in the Soldier Systems industry but M4Carbine.net gives access to the best group of Subject Matter Experts we have run across. No over-inflated CVs, no BS, just good information. Military, Law Enforcement, or a fan of the Black Rifle? You should be a member of M4Carbine.net.

We post videos for our articles on our Youtube channel. Additionally, we make use of content posted by others. Always be on the look out for more content.

Subscriptions to SSD’s content are available for the Kindle via Amazon. Don’t forget there is a Kindle reader for iPhone and iPad.
Environmental Clothing Systems on ADS Inc’s web site. You will also begin to see some of our stuff in print. We have also posted content from the Mad Duo and others.

Also, something very exciting is happening to SSD very soon. Once we get over this busy trade show season, a big change is coming.

One final word. None of this would be possible without the support of our sponsors. We have affiliated ourselves with reputable companies who provide solid products and services and we would not hesitate to recommend any of them. At SSD we look at our sponsorship program as a two-way street. We are endorsing them as much as they are us and we urge you to support them.

We are constantly improving our fighting position, so if you have any additional ideas on ways SSD can do more for you, please feel free to share them with us.

Vickers Tactical Video Series Preview

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Presented by Larry Vickers and Daniel Defense, here is a preview of the new Vickers Tactical Carbine I & II.


Blast From the Past – Crazy Eric

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

This is still good, a year-and-a-half later.

Frenchman Eric le Fou or “Crazy Eric” carries over 1300 items on his person and has been called the “Human Pen Knife”. He carries most of his EDC in his coat but also straps “sub-loads” to his shins under his trouser legs.

Eric le Fou's Jacket

Check out his website for details on all of the contents of his 7 kg Schott NYC Jacket. I have been informed by a reader that this jacket may no longer be in production but may be found in a retailer if you are diligent.